You Own Your Busines: But Do You Own Your Story?

Author: Lissa Cowan

You own your business, but do you own your story? How this one simple thing can help increase personal motivation and lead to greater success.

The Small Business Association reports that over 50 per cent of small businesses fail in the first five years. Some of the obvious reasons are lack of experience, poor location or not enough money. Although we rarely hear about less obvious reasons for business failure such as, not communicating our business story in a way that’s meaningful to our customers.

We all know a handful of people who love their jobs and can hardly wait to wake up and start their workday. Their enthusiasm is positively infectious and, because they truly believe in their product or service, it is a no-brainer for customers to want to buy what they’re offering. Yet, if you fell into your business and haven’t really considered why you’re in business in the first place, then it’s harder for you to market your services with true conviction.

Lack of capital and poor location aside, the way you interact with your customers about your product or service is key to whether you sink or swim. Two companies might sell exactly the same product however one might be raking in millions while the other treads water. Part of this could relate to the fact that the successful one owns her story, while the other one does not.

So what does it mean to own one’s story? Let’s say that you sell specialty teas online and think your product is one of the best out there in terms of quality, taste and brand presentation. How will you communicate this to your customers in a way that holds meaning? Maybe, as a child, you came to love tea because your mother introduced it to you and the two of you would sit and share stories about your day while drinking tea. Rather than telling people it’s the greatest tea in the world, show them instead by recounting your story. Your business story is about connection, being heard, family and love - will create a shared value and attract people to your product because it gives them a direct way to experience your brand.

Owning your story means getting to the heart of why you do what you do, and communicating those values to others. When you create an impacting story that resonates, you connect with your customers as though you are having a conversation with each one of them directly. This relationship becomes more lasting and will — in the end — create a more successful business.

Here are a few questions and ideas to help you work or re-work your business story:
  1. What were some thoughts you had about your business when you first began?
  2. Was your product or service created to fill a personal need or fill a need for other people?
  3. Was it based on a happy experience you had as a child or adult?
  4. What are some ways you could tell your story that would be relatable to your customers?
  5. Write a story around your product or service that is meaningful to you and creates shared value for others.
People look for a way to connect to your product or service, and the quickest, most effective way for them to do that is through your business story. In your story, they will recognize themselves and relate more readily to what you’re offering. Shared-value stories help us feel that we belong and are part of something larger than ourselves. They make it more likely for customers to buy your product or service, to understand its inherent value and see how it will enhance their lives.

When you own your story, your customers stand up and take notice. Your strengthened connection to your customers in turn motivates you to continue to build on your impacting story while increasing overall interest and engagement.

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